Now that The Land is in safe hands, what's next? I don't know if anything like Michfest could survive in today's volatile political enviorment
THIS IS A LONG POST. A BIT ANGRY. A BIT ACCUSATORY. OPEN TO FEEDBACK AND REACTIONS, BUT PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS FIRST.
So…Michigan ended two years ago. TWO YEARS. So that was “today’s political environment.” And two years ago? I worked with @redressalert (it was her idea) to make sure that young women would come to that last Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival to EXPERIENCE THAT WORLD. To know that women’s spaces are here and are life saving. So that, in a later time, they would remember, to paraphrase Sappho. And at least one hundred came. I met @shamelesslyunladylike and many others and it was amazing.
Michigan survived as long as it did because women vehemently said no. They said no. They said it loudly and over and over and over again. In the face of unrelenting pressure and haterade. But we fought to hold our line despite the shaming.
The Land may be in “safe hands” (i’m not even sure what that means), but women are still battling to keep it. The not-for-profit that bought it owes 1.2 million dollars on it. So now? It may be in “safe hands” but a steadfast group of amazing amazons are BATTLING TO KEEP IT. Every day. Without PAID STAFF.
When I was in my 20s? We were facing AIDS as our normal (and I mean skeletal, lesion covered people dying on the street from AIDS, AIDS) and a rampant cultural homophobia. And then women started the Lesbian Avengers and fought dyke phobia–which was thick. Thick. Everywhere. In spite of that, we loved ourselves and each other. We showed up and out against the bullshit we got from gay men and straight men and from folks trying to shame lesbians in so many ways. It was scary and sometimes dangerous, but we looked each other in the eye, and gathered in a room every Tuesday at 6 and we organized and created and were public and fought. Even if there were only 10 of us.
So let me ask this…
How many young women have signed up to be on WWTLC’s mailing list? How many young women have banned together to create in person (NOT ONLINE) fundraisers to keep the Land? how many young women have submitted applications to hold events for young feminists on the Land? how many young women have donated 5 dollars? two dollars? How many have proactively done something to make that Land available to young women and girls forever?
One of the problems I am seeing is that a lot of YOUNGER WOMEN aren’t fighting for themselves as dykes. Not against anyone: other rad fems and trans folks, I am not seeing young women fighting for THEMSELVES as lesbians. They aren’t acknowledging themselves as worthy and powerful and sexy. I don’t see young women starting their own dyke-based things. I don’t see you coming together as a voice for each other. All the under 30s in my life are calling themselves queer. All of the under 30s aren’t saying they want to be with BUTCHES, not trans guys. All of the under 30s in my life are not shouting about the power of the pussy.
I don’t see young women coming forward to fight for their own SPACES the way we fought for ours in the early 90s (google the Clit Club). I don’t see young women at the forefront saying this is BULLSHIT and nope. I don’t see young women organizing in person, face to face, on the ground, creating new ground troops on this.
I know y’all are going THROUGH IT. I know that. I see that. I am not ignoring that. But every generation has gone through some serious shit. Every generation. You aren’t new or different. For real. The question is how did you stand up to fight it? We’ve been told that no one gives a shit about women and dykes. What are we doing to stand up for being a DYKE? When do you stop caring about what other people think and stand for what you are?
So here’s some super passive things you can do to fight for women’s space (actual women’s space):
- Join WWTLC’s FB group (look up we want the land coalition)
- Join WWTLC’s mailing list
- On “Giving Tuesday,” that’s November 28, starting at 8 AM, the Gates Foundation is giving away $2,000,000 by MATCHING individual fundraisers on Facebook (up to $50,000 per organization) until that $2,000,000 runs out. It is a race for funding. If every woman on here who follows me held a $1,000 fundraiser and raised it from family and friends (that is 100 people giving 10 bucks each) starting at 8 am, you could collectively raise $100,000 for WWTLC which would basically make it possible for them to meet their April land payment of $180,000. You want women’s space? Here’s how you can help fight to get it:
• CREATE YOUR OWN FACEBOOK FUNDRAISER ON NOVEMBER 28
— go to https://www.facebook.com/fundraisers/
— click on Raise Money;
— type in “Purple,”
— choose “Purple—Human Services, Lansing MI” (the fiscal sponsor for WWTLC)
— fill out the form
— Tell your friends why women’s space on The Land is important to you
• SHARE WITH ALL YOUR FRIENDS!
All donations to Facebook fundraisers for Purple can be matched
• on GIVING TUESDAY, NOV. 28, beginning at 8 a.m. EST (this is important! it is a race and people need to start giving at 8 am ON THE NOSE)
• up to $1000 per fundraiser
• up to $50,000 total for Purple/WWLTC
• until $2M in matching funds from the Gates’ is claimed
- And if you are in Brooklyn or near it? On December 3, come to a fundraiser for WWTLC. Come be in women’s space. Dance. Listen to female musicians and poets and comics lay it DOWN (this one and this one and this one and this one). Make sure your deaf friends know it is going to be ASL interpreted. That the space is accessible for those in wheelchairs. Can’t afford the expensive ticket? Pay $20 for the DJ at 9. Can’t afford that? Ask on the FB page if there are any other options to attend.
But fight. Not each other. No matter how annoying. Don’t punch sideways and down. Please. Open your throats up and punch UP. You may lose people in your life, but are they really your tribe? Are they the people who hold you? Who you love? Who love you? Bad and good? You may lose, but you will gain others who are here for YOU. Who love women. Who love women’s community. Who are dyke-based and dyke-focused. But you can’t have it unless you don’t make the space for her to emerge. You have to struggle to earn something good.
A 19-year old started a dyke festival in 1976, when those words were ABSURD and women still needed their husband’s permission to get a credit card. Yes, y’all have it hard, but it has always been thus.
The question is what are you going to do now.